There’s some strong opposition to legislation banning all telecommunication devices while driving.

The concern is that the ban includes two-way radios. Joe Dragotta, Operations Manager with Viking Communications in Milwaukee, points to the 75-year history of mobile two-way radio use.

“Only in the last ten years when texting became real popular did someone say ‘Hey we better look at restricting communications while driving.’ So for the previous 65 years everything was fine. And now two-way radio is that proverbial baby who is getting thrown out with the bath water.”

Dragotta cites the National Safety Council, who opposes the use of cell phones while driving but does not support a legislative ban on using mobile two-way radios.

“I think the evidence shows that two-way radio clearly does not present an usual hazard to driving.”

Dragotta says while there have been amendments made for public safety and utility workers, that’s not enough. Many businesses have long relied on two-way radios.

“The two-way radio I’m talking about … has the biggest potential for negative economic impact on the businesses in Wisconsin. A lot of businesses have built their operational model on using two-way radio.”

He explains, those businesses need to be able to quickly and easily change their plans with a second’s notice, and communicate with various people simultaneously.

Dragotta says that includes delivery companies, snowplow drivers, public transit, garbage collection, private security firms, construction, private transportation, contractors, and farmers — just to name a few.

An Assembly Committee held a public hearing last week (Thursday) on legislation prohibiting a motorist from using a hand-held wireless telecommunications device while driving. Dragotta wants two-way radio specifically exempted from the bill (AB-429).

NOTE: Dragotta says you can NOT use the words two-way radio, CB radio and amateur radio interchangeably.

Jackie Johnson 1:56

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